Afghanistan and Pakistan: Anatomy of a Proxy War
* But what about the heart of the strategy, the Afghan National Army? This force is supposed to "stand up as we stand down." Sadly this is a phantom Army. Made up from the recombined remnants of Northern Alliance militias, held together by British and American money and training, it has nowhere near the numbers needed nor claimed. Drug addiction and demoralization are rampant among its soldiers. Most importantly, the ANA is a largely Tajik army. Tajiks are the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and are based in the north of the country. The Pashtun are the largest group and dominate the south. The Taliban draws its support from the Pashtun. Tajik and Pashtuns are bitter rivals.
* Powerful elements in Pakistan will continue to support the Pashtun insurgency in Afghanistan no matter what Islamabad's government says or does. This is only one of many problems affecting Afghanistan, but it is the core problem.
* Unless the international community can address the proxy fight between Pakistan and India at a political level -- through a settlement on the line of control through Kashmir and a guarantee of security for Pakistan -- it is unlikely that Pakistan's support of the Afghan Taliban can be stopped. And without that stabilizing Afghanistan is very unlikely.